Disney World theme parks using trash to grow beautiful flowers

It’s Earth Month and our local theme parks are looking at ways to become more sustainable. 

Walt Disney World is using items recycled in the parks and resorts to help grow beautiful flowers like the one's seen at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival. 

Disney launched a pilot program that turns recycled bottles and other glass from the parks and resorts into sand and gravel using a glass pulverizer. It can process 2,000 lbs of glass in an hour. 

The sand is being used on horse trails at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. They’re also using the gravel on the greenhouse floor at the park's nursery instead of the coquina that they had used previously. 

"When you're doing watering, it penetrates through. So you won't have any surface water on the greenhouse floors," Debbie Mola Mickler, Disney’s horticulture manager, said. "I felt like this was a really good project to focus on because it's utilizing glass that guests in our parks are using and then turning it around." 

The pilot program has been growing since 2022 and Disney’s Environmental Integration Project Manager Jarrod Stewart says cast members have been eager to get involved. 

"Our catering team stepped up and said, hey, we want to be a part of this story. They're running events like weddings and conventions, and dessert parties as well. Their trucks are all over the property all day," Stewart said. "They said, you know what? We can pick up the empty bins and then we can deliver the full ones just as we're driving by Fort Wilderness."

Disney is working to focus on becoming more sustainable and leaving the world a little more magical than we found it. 

"Part of our 2030 goals is to have zero waste-to-landfill," Stewart said. "It's very important that we engage with our cast, and engage with our guests to reach that goal. It's going to take everyone doing their part."